cover image The Lady Killer

The Lady Killer

Masako Togawa, trans. from the Japanese by Simon Grove. Pushkin Vertigo, $13.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-78227-364-6

Set in 1963, this clever crime thriller from Togawa (The Master Key) begins with the suicide of 19-year-old Keiko Obana, a key-punch operator who falls to her death from an upper story of her Tokyo office building six months after a one-night stand with a stranger with a memorable singing voice whom she met at a nightclub. Keiko’s older sister, Tsuneko, who raised her after their parents were killed by the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima, didn’t know about that encounter and is stunned to learn that her sibling was pregnant. The investigating inspector believes that stress over the pregnancy led to Keiko’s suicide. The narrative then shifts to an unnamed woman’s search for the singing stranger, who’s identified as Ichiro Honda. Togawa changes gears again, to present events from Honda’s perspective, as a series of women he’s had flings with—conquests documented in what he terms his Huntsman’s Log—are murdered. Togawa maintains uncertainty about who’s responsible for the killings until closing with the logical and fairly clued reveal. Puzzle mystery fans will be well satisfied. (Oct.)